Advisement and High Schools That Work: Designing a Quality System That Involves Students, Teachers, and PARENTS
Is Each Student Known Well? “Anonymity is the curse of good teaching and inevitably leads to corner-cutting. If no one knows the students in a high school, it is easy for them to drift through.” -Ted Sizer The Students Are Watching: Schools and The Moral Contract 1999 Beacon Press
Where are You When the Sun Comes Up ! • When the sun comes up, the gazelle must run faster than the lion or it will be killed. • The lion must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. • It doesn’t matter if you’re a gazelle or a lion: when the sun comes up - you’d better be running !
IF YOU ALWAYS DO WHAT YOU’VE ALWAYS DONE • YOU’LL ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU’VE ALWAYS GOTTEN. • RESOLVE TODAY TO DO SOMETHING, ANYTHING, DIFFERENT !!
Presentation Outline • Determining the purpose of your program • Avoiding pitfalls and snipers • Preparing an advisement “lesson” • Using advisement to engage parents/raise achievement
HSTW Key Practice • Guidance: Involve students and their parents in a guidance and advisement system that develops positive relationships and ensures completion of an accelerated program of study with an academic or career/technical concentration.
Why Advisement?? • What do you want to accomplish for your students through advisement? • Think-Write-Pair-Share • Numbered Heads • Brainstorm Lists • Ranking Items
The “Key” To A Successful Advisement Program • Teachers and other professional educators who will serve as advisors for high school students must be WILLING to expand their roles .
Can You Spot the Snipers? Activity With a same school partner, work to identify the staff members who may openly (or behind the scenes) work to sabotage the program. How do you anticipate the resistance and keep it from frustrating your efforts?
Major Components • Selection of faculty members • Grouping of students • Training of Advisors • Allocating time for Advisement • Relevant and quality services • Duration of Advisor-Advisee relationship • Evaluation of program effectiveness
Selection of Faculty Advisors • Will all professional staff members serve as advisors ? • Will students be assigned randomly ? • How many advisors should be allocated for each group ?
Grouping of Advisees • Determine the number per group • Assign students by grade (or year of HS entry) • Mainstream special needs students • To alphabetize or not - another issue • Balance by sex and race • Determine if any “special “ groupings are needed or desired
Group Your Own Students • Discuss how you might group students in light of the purpose(s) you have determined for your own school’s Advisement Program.
Advisor Training • General knowledge of curriculum , diploma programs, career programs • Career development activities • RTI procedures • Conferencing skills
Allocation of Time • Regular weekly or daily meeting times • Combine with homeroom concept • Use “Activity Schedule” • Allow for extra time as needs arise
Services To Provide • Academic assistance and monitoring - link to RTI referral or guidance referral • Delivery system for career guidance activities - via Discover, Work Keys, or other career guidance programs • Information source for special programs (internships, apprenticeships, summer study, HOPE Scholarship, etc.) • Yearly Parent-Student-Advisor conference
Developing An Advisement “Scope and Sequence” Select a single grade or other grouping configuration and provide a series of 8 general topics to become “Lessons”. Then, create a single “Lesson” outline.
Duration of the Advisor/Advisee Relationship • Students are assigned to an advisor upon enrolling. They retain that same advisor until they leave the school . • Returning students are reunited w/advisor. • 5th year students keep same advisor.
Program Evaluation • Use formal written questionnaires for parents, students, teachers - consider random sampling • Use anecdotal data whenever available • Watch for problems as they arise
Students assigned based on year of 9th grade entry Twice monthly meeting time of 40 minutes minimum Meet EVERY day after 2nd block – vocab study and DOL Vehicle for all “homeroom” type activities Career guidance activities build from year to year ALL FHS parents conference each year Features of Freedom High’s Teacher Advisement System
Planning Your School’s Advisement Program • How ready are your faculty members to expand their roles? What can be done to help establish readiness? • Who will be your advisors? Will you involve all certificated staff? • How will students be grouped? How many per advisor? • What training will your advisors need ?
Planning Your Program • Who will provide training for advisors? What functions should your advisors focus on initially? (Hint - Start with a manageable load so everyone can experience success and satisfaction early on.) • The conference is a MAJOR commitment for teachers to make. How can you “sell” this idea?
Planning Your Program • When will advisors meet with their students? How often? Is your schedule flexible enough to allow extra time when needs arise? • How will you handle “homeroom” types of activities that require students to be grouped by grade level. • How long will advisors keep their students?
Benefits of Involving Parents • Break down feelings of isolation - create enduring relationships over time • Focus on the future instead of the past • More help in dealing w/the “poor effort” student (support, cajole, harass,) • More students taking the hardest classes • Fewer students “bailing out” of their courses in the Fall • No information “slipping thru the cracks”
Personalize the HS – Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care! Support System for students when performance drops Parents have 1 staff member they know and trust Connect HS Program to career goals-counselors can’t do it by themselves Team up w/parent to push students into most challenging classes Inform students and parents about special programs and options Ways That A Teacher-Adviser Program Can Boost Achievement
Use The Registration Process • Students are advised of proper courses to take by teachers and their advisors • Parents are required to meet face-to-face with advisors to approve selections • Additional information is shared as it relates to course selections (use a checklist) • Establish a 2-3 week time frame for completion of conferences
Registration Process (continued) • Once time frame is up, input approved requests into computer • Print verifications for these students • Input remaining requests (but no verifications printed for these) • Distribute verifications in advisement to trouble shoot any errors
The Bottom Line • When students don’t receive verifications, advisors tell them they are not registered and won’t be until their parents come in for the conference. Their lack of a verification is “proof” that we mean BUSINESS!
Follow Up • As remaining parents come in, verifications are printed individually • Advisors make one last “push” for last holdout parents during postplanning • The list of “non-conferencers” is forwarded to administration • Students on the list have their schedules pulled
The Next Step • Advisors try again in preplanning • No conference - no schedule. When students show up, they are not allowed to attend class until parents come in and meet w/administration
Light Another Candle A few years ago, at the Seattle Special Olympics, 9 contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash. At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but each with a relish to run the race to the finish and win. All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry. The other 8 heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back. Then they all turned around and went back…….every one of them.
One girl with Down’s Syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, “This will make it better.” Then all 9 linked arms and walked together to the finish line. Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for several minutes. People who were there are still telling that story. WHY?
What Matters Most Because deep down we know that what matters most in this life is more than winning for ourselves What matters most in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course. If you pass this on, we may be able to change our hearts as well as someone else’s ……….. A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.
For More Information: Dr. Ken Prichard, Principal Freedom High School 511 Independence Blvd. Morganton, NC 28655 (828) 433-1310